All about gardens & books at the Martin Bodmer Foundation

Until September 9th, 2018 at the Martin Bodmer Foundation, on Geneva Lake, in Switzerland, the exhibition ‘Des Jardins & des Livres’ brings together, in a historical perspective, the major writings devoted to the gardens. One hundred and fifty exceptional works presented, from the best libraries public or private, reflect different genres (epic, poetry, prose, scientific theories, treatises gardening) in the diversity of times and traditions national. Sometimes the gardens evoked have existed, sometimes they represent projects, dreams or fantasies. With the exhibition, the library comes back to walk along a route reasoned among books as rare as beautiful, from the Antiquity to the present day.

The spiritual gardens of biblical or Koranic traditions (Eden, paradise, garden enclosures of Marian worship), those of secular traditions of the Odyssey, Venus and the arts of love, offer, the image of the famous Poliphile Dream, a rich diversity of gardens that have nurtured so many amazing books and teeming.  Orlando Furioso makes up the subtext for the Gardens of Bomarzo; a key passage of Paradise Lost will be the aesthetic point of origin of the English Garden. This intimate link is found thematized in Goethe’s elective Affinities and even in the views visionaries of the great writers of modernity. The exhibition allow everybody to follow this eternal association between the arts of the garden and the book. The fruitful and incessant dialogue takes place over time. This unique exhibition allows to admire masterpieces and particularly rare copies history of publishing and bibliophilia, as well as precious original editions of classics like Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, Proust, Borges, Woolf, etc., revisited under the enchanting lighting of the gardens.

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